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Smart motorway rollout was “entirely wrong”, transport secretary tells MPs

The secretary of condition for transport has criticised the way in which Highways England rolled out...

The secretary of condition for transport has criticised the way in which Highways England rolled out wise motorways, branding it “entirely wrong” and adding that motorists continue to you should not know how to travel on them appropriately.

Speaking ahead of the Transport Committee, Grant Shapps condemned the point that wise motorways “sprung up” without the need of a public information marketing campaign on what they have been and how they worked, leaving drivers baffled as to what to do if they break down in a reside lane.

Shapps also admitted his surprise at Highways England not acquiring executed stopped car or truck detection (SVD) technologies from the start off to decrease the time taken to location damaged-down vehicles. He reported that the deadline for SVD to be put in on all stretches of wise motorway is staying introduced forward from March 2023 to following yr.

The Department for Transport (DfT) previously done an ‘evidence stocktake’ into wise motorways pursuing problems about their basic safety. This resulted in dynamic wise motorways – where the outer lane can swap amongst staying a hard shoulder and a reside operating lane – staying abolished.

In the meantime, all-lane operating (ALR) wise motorways – where there is no hard shoulder – have been retained, with a determination to location emergency refuge locations three-quarters of a mile aside where feasible, and no extra than 1 mile aside on any new stretches of ALR wise motorway.

Shapps told the Transport Committee that wise motorways are as well high-priced to get rid of, as generating new hard shoulders on all of them would involve the invest in of land equivalent to “700 Wembley stadiums”.

Calls for wise motorway review

Intelligent motorways grew to become the matter of scrutiny once more in January, when a coroner termed for a review of them after two adult males died when their stationary vehicles have been struck by a lorry on the M1.

Jason Mercer’s Ford Focus and Alexandru Murgeanu’s Ford Transit collided on a stretch of the M1 wise motorway where there is no hard shoulder. When the two drivers stopped to trade information, they have been hit by a lorry staying pushed by Prezemyslaw Szuba.

Szuba is presently in jail, acquiring admitted to leading to dying by careless driving past yr. Whilst Coroner David Urpeth reported Szuba’s inattention to the highway was the primary induce of the two men’s deaths, the inquest at Sheffield Town Hall read that the accident might have been avoided if there experienced been a hard shoulder for Mercer and Murgeanu to end on.

Recording a verdict of unlawful killing, Urpeth reported he would publish to Highways England and Grant Shapps, contacting for a review of wise motorways.

In a assertion, Highways England reported: “We extend our deepest sympathies to the households of Alexandru Murgeanu and Jason Mercer. We recognise this continues to be an amazingly tough time for them.

“Every highway dying is a tragic reduction of existence. We are decided to do all we can to make our streets as harmless as feasible and are previously addressing several of the points raised… by the coroner as published in the Government’s Intelligent Motorway Proof Stocktake and Action Approach of March 2020. We will thoroughly contemplate any even further feedback elevated by the coroner once we get the report.”

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